- Sainsbury's group sales in the 28 weeks to 21 September 2019 declined 0.2% to £16.8bn, while retail sales and like-for-like sales were also down 0.6% and 1% respectively.

The retailer said that, in line with guidance, underlying profit reduced by £41m to £238m due to the combined impact of the phasing of cost savings, higher marketing costs and 'tough weather comparatives'.

The supermarket reviewed its store estate, leading to £203m of largely non-cash one-off costs recognised in this half. Total one-off costs in the first half are £229m, resulting in statutory profit before tax of £9m.

Sainsbury's said it expected the total cost of the property strategy programme to be in the range of £230m to £270m.

Underlying earnings per share were down 16% to 7.9 pence.

Net debt reduced by £568m to £6.7bn, reflecting strong cash generation.

Chief executive Mike Coupe said: 'We have created positive momentum across the business through strategic investments in our customer offer. We have lowered prices on every day food and groceries, launched a range of value brands and are more competitive on price than we have ever been.'

In its outlook, Sainsbury's said that retail markets remained highly competitive, while the consumer outlook is uncertain.

At 8:20am: [LON:SBRY] Sainsbury J PLC share price was +3.5p at 209p

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